Notes for Acolytes

Don't let these notes seem daunting, it all happens in a logical order and you will get used to the routine. Keep your eye on the MC who will direct you if you are not sure. Mistakes may happen, but are rarely crucial and other servers will be around to help.

1. Arrive in time to light the altar candles about 9.40 am, always lighting the right-hand candle first. The left-hand candle is the gospel candle and should never burn alone, so also when extinguishing the candles start with the left-hand candle. During the Christmas season light the ring of five candles; during the Easter season the Paschal candle

2. Decide before you leave the Sacristy which of you will do all the water jobs and which will do the wine jobs. (see below) The Acolyte doing the water jobs should be on the south side.

3. At 9.55 am, light your own candles, making sure there is sufficient length in the wick for them to stay alight. The order for the procession is: Thurifer, Crucifer, Acolytes, MC. Follow the Crucifer as far as the Screen, put your candles down at each side of the arch. When the Crucifer has put the cross in its stand all step back and, taking your cue from the Crucifer, genuflect. Take your seats on the front pews.

4. Please stand for the Confession and sit for the Intercessions.

5. During the Gradual hymn, wait for the signal from the MC and then go with the Crucifer to the screen to collect your candle and follow the Crucifer to a position one pace in front of the front pew. The acolytes turn (inwards) to face east either side of the crucifer in a straight line, while the Gospel book is censed.

6. After this, when the MC moves towards you, turn inwards to face west and follow the Crucifer to the middle of the church. Stop close to the Crucifer and turn inwards again to face east. If the MC stops short of you then move forward so that you are close to the Gospel book. At the end of the Gospel reading allow the Crucifer to pass between you to lead the Procession back to the screen. Replace your candles and, taking your cue from the crucifer, bow your head briefly and take a seat on the front pews.

7. At the end of the intercessions, move to form an arc either side of the President, Deacon and MC for the Peace. After exchanging the peace, take your candle and stand on the Chancel step facing East. At a word from the MC the Procession moves to the Altar rail.

8. At the Altar rail, stand either side of the entrance to the sanctuary. At the signal from the President all except acolytes and crucifer genuflect. Wait for the President, Deacon, MC and communion assistants to enter the sanctuary then go into the Sanctuary and place the candle on the black line of tiles on the floor. Then go direct to the credence table, the wine acolyte going behind the altar, and wait while the bread and wine are offered.

9. The acolytes stand facing the deacon (or occasionally the priest) with the wine acolyte in front. When the wine flagon is handed back to you bow, return the flagon to the credence table along with any other empty wine vessels. At this stage there are no more wine jobs so the wine acolyte should cross behind the altar to stand by the north wall.

10. Meanwhile the water Acolyte will give the water jug to the Deacon. When it has been used return to the credence table and prepare to wash the priest's fingers with small finger bowl, water jug and the cloth towel.

11. When the wine acolyte sees the sides persons coming up with the collection they move to the altar rail to receive it (the crucifer may also do this), turn and offer it to a priest to bless it. Then place it out of the way under the bench or chairs.

12. The priest will have been censing the altar and will return to the water acolyte afterwards, who will pour the water over his/her fingers and offer the towel. After s/he has returned the towel, bow to the priest and place the jug etc. on to the credence table.

13. Then both acolytes take up place in front of your candle standing while all servers line up and the Sanctuary gate is shut by the Crucifer. Remain standing until the Lord's Prayer, and then kneel. After the invitation to communion, the MC will give the cue to move to the centre of the altar step in one line; genuflect and then move up one step and kneel together. All receive communion or a blessing, then stand, bow heads briefly and take up seats either side of the altar. Again, all sit on cue from the MC. Please do not chat.

14. After the communion distribution, the acolytes return to the side table in order to assist in the ablutions and clearing of the altar. The wine acolyte takes the jug of water and stands to the west of the altar beside the deacon. When presented with the vessels, they pour a small amount of water into the vessel in order for the deacon or priest to wash them. The water acolyte takes the lavabo set, offers it to the other person who has administered the wafers and then goes to stand just in front of the Screen so that the Priest can wash after the Communion for the infirm and then returns the lavabo to the Credence table. If there is no communion for the infirm then simply offer the lavabo beside the altar to both people who have administered wafers.

15. The water acolyte then helps complete clearing the Altar. When they have finished, the acolytes move to stand with their back to the north or south wall until given the cue to move by the Crucifer or Deacon.

16. When the cue is given, move to your candle, let the Thurifer go ahead and follow them out of the sanctuary. You will stop at the entrance to the choir stalls to turn and face the altar, while the remainder of the altar party genuflect together, then turn and proceed to the bottom of the Chancel steps (the Crucifer is at the back) and take up position either side of the Priest facing each other about 3 metres apart.

17. After the dismissal, leave for the sacristy in the same order that we entered allowing the crucifer to pass and then follow out. The order for the procession is: Thurifer, Crucifer, Acolytes, MC.
18. After the service help to bring the items from the side table to the sacristy, putting the candles out and putting the hymn books etc. away.

July 2014 MS